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NWO celebrates... Eid al-Fitr

About 2600 people work at NWO and NWO-I, and each person has a different background. So, the time has come to discover which (festive) days our colleagues celebrate. Hanukkah, Easter, Ramadan, Coming Out Day or Diwali? What makes this day special for them? In future editions of Inside NWO-I, we will explain the special meaning of these days and interview an NWO or NWO-I colleague about it. Nokta Karaoglan, who works for the Taskforce for Applied Research SIA, starts the series. She talks about Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, which was celebrated on 13 May. Do you have a suggestion for a special (festive) day for this section, “NWO celebrates…”, and are you also willing to be interviewed? Then let us know!

Interview with Nokta Karaoglan

Hi Nokta! Which special date do you celebrate?
On 13 May, I celebrated Eid al-Fitr, one of the Islamic feast days! It is part of the Ramadan observance. The Dutch name suikerfeest (sugar festival) originates from the fact that lots of sweet food is eaten, such as baklava. On this day, Muslims celebrate the end of the month of Ramadan, the month that Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. So, you cannot eat or drink anything. Not even chewing gum? No! Chewing gum is not allowed either. Women who are pregnant, or have their period or the elderly and ill do not have to take part.

What do you like most about this month?
In this way, we reflect on the life of poor people. You feel what they experience throughout the entire year. In the month of Ramadan, people pray more than usual, and they try to read the Koran from its first to last page. You should also give the obligatory zekat (alms) to others. Fasting and alms are part of the religious obligations of Muslims and constitute two of the five pillars of Islam.

Can non-Muslims take part in Ramadan too? How should they go about that?
Of course they can! For people who want to take part, I should warn you that the first two days are the worst. After that, the body gets used to it, and it becomes easier. So it is very important that before sunrise, you eat and drink well, preferably water. If you have any questions, then I am always willing to help you, support you or give you tips.

What do the Eid al-Fitr days look like? What happens?
Eid al-Fitr lasts three days. Everybody wears their finest clothes (if possible, new). On the first morning, the men visit the mosque for a special prayer for this festive day. Nowadays, many women go too. Once everybody has arrived back home, there is an extensive breakfast. Afterwards, you visit family, acquaintances and parents. Children usually receive presents or money. We normally prepare all of the delicacies the day before. This mostly consists of borek (savoury bread), sarma (filled grape leaves), and baklava.

Diversity and inclusion at NWO and NWO-I

This new section will be published on both the NWO intranet Joost and the newsletter Inside NWO-I. This is an initiative from the NWO-D and NWO-I wide Diversity team. We aim to realise working in an inclusive organisation with inclusive procedures. We believe that we can achieve our strategic ambitions as NWO if we also seek to be a diverse organisation with an inclusive culture. Diversity brings us creativity, innovation, and renewal. In addition to this, we are convinced that we will have more societal impact as NWO if our organisation reflects the society we are part of. This means that as an employer, NWO needs to ensure that everybody is welcome, can be themselves and can perform at their best. This Diversity and Inclusion calendar contributes to that. You can read more about diversity and inclusion on the NWO website. And in the January edition of Inside NWO-I, we published the article “Striving for an organisation where everybody can be themselves” about diversity within NWO and NWO-I.

Section NWO celebrates … based on an annual calendar

We base the section “NWO celebrates…” on an annual calendar that we have produced ourselves. You can find our calendar here. An annual calendar does not necessarily have to start on 1 January. Various Roman emperors and several popes changed the dates making a year start on 1 March, or 25 March or perhaps 1 January? That set us thinking: which dates do we still take for granted, and how do others view that? Time for a calendar that includes all special days: days that we as NWO employees can celebrate together. We hope this calendar will help us to get to know each other better, increase our knowledge about other festive days, and give us opportunities to open up the conversation and discover which (festive) days are special for us and why.

Read the other articles from the section 'NWO celebrates...'

Would you like to participate in this section?

Is your (festive) day missing from the calendar (see annex at the end of this article)? Or would you like to say something in the section “NWO celebrates…” about one of the special days on this calendar? If that is the case, then please send an email to Nicole Verhoeven. Then we will add your date to the calendar and contact you for a possible interview for this section.

More information about Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr

Would you like to learn more about Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr? Then enjoy this long read from NPO Kennis (in Dutch). In this, you will find answers to questions such as: what is Ramadan, why do Muslims fast, are Muslims the only believers who fast, who is not obliged to fast, pilgrimage and how Muslims break their fast.

About the photos

Kunefe, my favourite sweetmeat, and a photo of the iftar (the major meal after sunset) when I was in Turkey several years ago.

Confidental Infomation